Friday, September 21, 2018
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The BSD Laptop Pilot Program and the Future of the One to One Program


The laptops distributed in the Bellevue School District, certainly haven’t aged well. These laptops are now five years old. Additionally, most of them have some problem, whether it is a broken key, a missing TrackPoint, or a chipped corner.

So, the BSD is searching for its next laptop, which will be distributed to students in the coming years. However, BSD is not just choosing the cheapest – they are actually getting student feedback on the latest education models through a Microsoft Teams chat and surveys throughout the year.

The Student Device Pilot program lets chosen students try out three different laptops, each for a month. The three laptops are listed below:

  • Lenovo Yoga 370 (Intel Core i3, 7th Generation, 4 gigabytes of RAM, 128 gb SSD)
  • Dell 7389 (Intel Core i3, 7th Generation, 4 gigabytes of RAM , 128 gb SSD)
  • Surface Pro 2017 (Intel Core m3, 7th Generation, 4 gigabytes of RAM, 128 gb SSD)

As one can see, these computers aren’t fast by today’s standards. 4 gigabytes of RAM is just enough to get by today with Windows 10. The i/m3 processors are the worst “Core” chips Intel has to offer.All of these processors are a generation old, with the current generation being “Coffee Lake”.

With that knowledge, why would BSD choose these laptops that have such little power if they want them to last five years?

My guess is that their budget is limited so they can’t afford to buy thousands of quality laptops. However, they should spend more money now, because upgrading processors and RAM will cost less than buying a low-end laptop twice. I believe that buying the cheapest laptop is a recipe for disaster.

So, here’s a rundown of the laptops:

  • Lenovo Yoga 370 – an upgraded version of the Yoga 270, which some students have. It has all the signature Yoga features, including a TrackPoint. It adds Windows Hello, which the district doesn’t let you use.
  • Dell 7389 – It is very chunky , but feels high quality. It has a strong hinge, a big stylus, and a great screen. However, the keyboard is spongy and squeaks some, and the trackpad has two buttons below it which feels very outdated and is hard to use.
  • Microsoft Surface Pro: It has a big stylus, a great (4k) screen, and the best keyboard and trackpad I’ve ever used. Tablet mode is useful, but the kickstand design only allows for angles larger than 90 degrees, and it requires extra desk space. It also has a bulky case (like a phone case) and turns off randomly.

So, the laptops are not powerful, but the main issue is that the school will be giving students a laptop that isn’t fast today and is expecting them to last five years. I did a Basemark Web speed test on the Surface and the current Lenovo Yoga students have, and the Lenovo was faster. Students don’t want to have to use a laptop that will be very slow, and we likely won’t be able to do anything about it. The District has spoken: we will have slow computers.

 

Feedback on BSD computers. Source: BSD

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